Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Der uber-treehouse

On Saturday we went out to visit MJ and Rick for opening day of the tree house season. This is the third season for this particular treehouse. DH and Rick have been hammering on this construction for weekends uncountable. MJ and I keep reminding the guys, "It's just a treehouse!" But DH feels that if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well, and Rick is an engineer.

The tree house will have two doors, three Pella windows (surplus from when the real house was built) and a front deck. There is an electrical outlet handy and a hose-pipe down next to the tree, so the boys can have electric lights and running water. When construction started, the youngest boy was 10. He'll be too old to play in a tree house before this thing will be finished, but it should make a swell place to take a girlfriend to neck.

So while DH and Rick were playing with power tools and air-compressors, MJ and I scampered around the property taking photos with my digital camera, then had adventures in internet picture printing. We sent the photo file to a local camera shop and two hours later were able to pick up 85 color prints. Like magic! Then we stopped at Joanne's, bought 75 blank cards, and settled down for fold and paste. An hour later we had a year's worth of blank notecards. A successful day all around!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pictures that have nothing to do with knitting

Of all the advertising spokes-beings, I enjoy the Geico Gecko the best, but this shot wrought with my funny bone.

I had to send the Baby Surprise sweater to the frog pond. Who knows what I was thinking? I cast on 240 instead of 160 stitches. After knitting 22 rows, with 2 decreases per row, I just couldn't get the count to come out to 114. At all. No matter how often I counted it nor which end I started from. I'm back on track and 11 rows into it again. It's going much faster now, too. And the count is right.


What IS it about guys? Men in cities must feel desperately deprived, not being able to casually wet on the greenery. Maybe the urge is a result of some hard-wired territorial instinct. Cats and dogs mark territory, so why shouldn't furless monkeys do the same?

But it's hard on the petunias.

Friday, April 27, 2007

It's azalea season

Azalea. This is a lucious, fully saturated color. Leave out those flecks of green and think of yarn dyed like this. Wouldn't that be the perfect sweater for a willful little girl? A cardigan with big buttons so little fingers can manage ("I do it!") and big pockets to stash the My Little Pony and assorted treats and treasures.

And here we have lace-leaf Japanese Maples. This is a colorway for a willful woman like me. Muted shades of rose with accents of sage. I want a cardigan with big pockets, too. So I can stash my glasses and a pen and a credit card and my driver's license and car keys when I run away from home to the LYS.

Meanwhile, as if I needed to buy more yarn, I am on a search for sport-weight charcoal grey silk. Three skeins in matt, and one in shiny. I am going to knit DH a tuxedo vest for his birthday. It's a surprise. Don't tell him. I know the color won't photograph well, but I'll give it a try since I feel quite inspired by the design that has nested in my brain. Where do you like to buy your silk?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

hoody with pocket

Shot in the back yard under natural light so you can see how very orange it is. I'm surprised at how quickly it went and how enjoyable it was in spite of being screaming orange. I might try another in some fun varigated and see if I love it more.
Now I am working on a baby Surprise sweater in using-up-left-overs shades of blues and greys. I think I'll whip up a few baby Surprises till I fully "Grock" the principals, then see if I can add cables or something.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

This is where I went to school

Lewis and Clark College was founded in the late 1800.a while later, a wealthy alum donated his private home and acerage to the school. The home is now the administration building. all offices and copiers inside now, but when I was going to school, we still had classes up on the third floor in the servant's quarters. And on the second floor, see that round tower just to the left of the main entrance? On the second floor, that was the ladies' bathroom. All tile with art Deco Egyptian themed fixtures and a hedonistically huge tub in an alcove with built in candle sconces shaped like nubian slaves holding torches.

I graduataed in 1972 with a BA in english. That left me qualified to wait tables anywhere in America. I got work in yarn stores. In May of1980, there was a "Rennisance Faire" on campus and I took myself up for the fun of it. I got there early, and was able to watch Mt. St. Helen's explode from this patio. The view was stunning, and I will never forget it.

Here is the back view of the manor house. The land slopes down to the East, here, and at the foot of the stairs is a big reflecting pool. When I was a student here, someone had stocked the pool with goldfish. Two neighborhood golden retrievers (Budweiser and Michelob)had discovered that they could always get a came of fetch at the college, so hung out on campus much of the time. One of their less endearing tricks was to catch goldfish and drop them on the backs of sunbathers.

Since the college is Presbyterian, they needed a chapel. The Agnes Flannagan chapel is built to resemble a Native American long house. Only, the chapel is round. The acoustics are delicious. And it's impossible to get stuck in a bad corner.
The old stables went through several incarnations. I believe they are now a series of science labs. I didn't take pictures of all the new buildings. The new theater and the new library and the new art department and the new gym (where Steve Prefontaine trained, and the Blazers come for basketball practice) The new buildings are quite nice, but hold no memories for me.
Nor did I take pictures of all the palatial new dorms. But here's a shot of one of the older dorms with a well-grown rhododendron in bloom. Yes, it is over one story tall. They grow wild around here. Sometime, I'll take you to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron test gardens and we can throw bread at the ducks.
Did you enjoy your tour of my alma mater? Maybe next week I will take you downtown.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

hoodie sans pocket

Is this not just the perfect sweater for a six-year-old boy who will be playing in the woods? It's so loud, you can practically hear it and God knows it's easy to see. I bought yarn before I got the pattern and have a skein extra. Can't decide whether to return it, or knit a matching hat for dad. Hmmm - dad wears "gimmee" hats. (You go to the the John Deere dealer and say, "gimmee hat" and they give you a ball-cap with the green deer on it. Or you go to the feed store, or you go to the auto-parts dealer . . .) and I don't know how to knit a cap with a bill on it.

On the other hand, I bet there are kids in the orphange who could use a nice warm orange hat. And I didn't save the receipt anyhow. It's hard to take yarn back to the store. It crys when I try.

Thanks to all of you who have offered such wonderful advice about the quit-writing-and-go-to-work plan. I feel wrapped in care and affection. And you have given me a lot to think about. Yes, if we cut back on our high-flying lifestyle,(yearly cruises) we could get along relatively comfortably on the current retirement funds, unless the unexpected happens. And there's no way to plan for the unexpected. (Will an asteroid hit the earth? No ammount of planning will help with that one. Will a truck hit me on the bridge tomorrow? How can you plan for that?) Do you forego all current pleasures to make sure there's lots of money socked away for the future, or do you gather those rosebuds while you may and make hay while the sun shines?

We took our first cruise for our honeymoon. While on that cruise, we met several older couples who were unable to do much because one of them was in a wheelchair or on an oxygen tank or had impaired vision. And they all said, "We always wanted to travel, but we waited till we felt we could afford it. Then John had his stroke (or Martha broke her hip) and we realized that if we wanted to enjoy life, we'd better get started. but now we can't dance, and most of the food is forbidden on our diets, and the wheelchair won't go onto the beaches. Enjoy yourselves while you're young. there's lots of time to sit quietly at home when you're old and tired."

So there's the question. Live like a grasshopper, or live like an ant? Or, like a spider, should I spread my white lace tablecloth on the lawn and wait for the picnic to come to me?

Monday, April 23, 2007

fun at the food front.

There's a brand new Safeway in the neighborhood. Something about a brand-new store sort of inspires the produce guys. The vegetable displays look like works of art. We have texture, perspective, contrast, repetition, line and color. And this would make a killer jigsaw puzzle!

Do you have prickly pear leaves in your local store? I've never eaten them, and have no idea how to prepare them, but find them fascinating just to look at.

Washington State, just north of us, produces more apples than any place else in the US. Look at all the kinds and colors available just in this one store! The specialty fruit markets have rows of apple varieties to choose from! When I was growing up, it was yellow Delicious, red Delicious, and those little green ones Grandma used for pies. who knew what abundance was available?

How about a peck of peppers? I won't eat them, but I love their shiny colors and undulating shapes.

Yeah, yeah, I know this is supposed to be a knitting blog. I'll get a picture of the orange hoody sans pocket tomorrow. Really. Trust me.

In spite of theLadies' Knitting feast, I mamaged to hold the line for Weight Watchers. No loss, but no gain either. Yay for me!! I should not have eaten my snack before weigh-in. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Next week, no snack, no earrings, no makeup, and I'm going in wearing nothing but a bathing suit under my coat. And I'll drop the coat for the weigh-in. I'm going to have a loss next week!!

DH and I had a talk about retirement. He would rather I stuck with the work of getting my books sold, but it's like trying to push over a giant Sequoia bare-handed. Hundreds of thousands of people write books. The big publishers bring out about fourty new writers a year. Can I become one of those fourty new writers? Yep. And I can also win the mega-bucks lottery. Someone is going to, so why shouldn't it be me, right? It's not something we can plan on for a comfortable retirement.

So I'm going to bite the bullet and start looking for full time work. Maybe I can get a job in the produce department at Safeway. I can do just about anything for another twelve years or so. Less knitting, less blogging, more security in those golden years.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy earth day to you . . .

Bells, from Canberra, was asking for pictures around the neighborhood. This charming 1930s house was one of the early ones in the neighborhood, back when it was all holly trees and broccolli fields. Now, this place is across the street from a new Safeway store, and there are four-plexes all around. Still, lots of trees and bushes and things exhaling oxygen for us. Chloryphyl is our friend.

Here is a close-up of a neighborhood dogwood tree. The pink ones are soooo romantic!

Knitting was great fun, though sparsely attended. Of the 20 some people on the invitation list, 8 responded and three actually showed up. Miz G. Stayed home with a cold, and I heartily endorse her decision to do so. And L. ditched me at the last screaming minute because she discovered a class on how to help her child be a better writer. How can I argue with that? Helping, helping a kid. Helping a kid write. Anyhow, that just meant that there was more chocolate covered strawberries for the rest of us. I gave the leftover berries to the neighbor and she gave back the dish, and two balls of snazzy silver and black Lion brand "incredible" tape yarn. Cool! This may need to be an evening bag. With beads. Hmmmm.

Before I throw myslef on frivolity and sillyness, though, I'd better knuckle down, and buckle down, and finish the orange hoody. I'm decreasing for the sleeve caps. Thank goodness for worsted weight yarn and big needles.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Beginning and ending with cats.

This morning I looked out the kitchen window to see this little neighbor lady admiring our newly filled bird feeder. She sat, gazing at it for a good hour or so. Sometimes she would stand on her hind legs and streeeeetch up for it, but was just a couple inches too short. then she would climb the tree and reach down, but the string is longer than she is (planned to baffle squirrels.) But she is abysinnian, and if there is a way for a cat to dine on the benefits of a bird feeder, she will figure it out.

The next thing I had to deal with was a flooded laundry room. Thewashing maschine has become incontinent. Last night, it was empty and dry. This morning, it was full of warm water and leaking all over the floor. Times like these I wish we had a wet-dry vacuume. Hands and knees and buckets and towels. whine. DH took a wrench and stopped the slow leak, Yayyyy! He can fix a rainy day if he wants to! He is my wonder husband!

Today was also the day when I hosted the ladies' knitting group. Tamara, God bless her, brought her world class hazlenut biscotti, banana bread, apricot cashew bread, grapes, crackers and cheese. I provided a cantelope, mango mix, chocolate-dipped strawberries, a child and husband free location, and a nicely set table. I love getting out the linens and china and putting together a pretty table. It's an art form: sort of domestic 3-d collage. Today's theme was pink and periwinkle.

The woods hyacinths are blooming with gusto, and they go so well with this lovely old pink satin damask cloth. The napkin rings, found at an estate sale years after I got the tablecloth, match perfectly. I especially love the pink depression glass cups and saucers, but all my unmatched china makes me happy.

When DH and I first started going together, he found out about my addiction to china and tea parties. We ran across this set on one of our outings, and without even needing to ask if I liked it, he bought it for me. They make me so happy! No matter what else is on the table, the kitty sugar and creamer are always at the party!
When I'm 97, my photo albums and this set will be with me in the nursing home. This is not kitsch. This is a token of true love.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Greens are good for you

this post is for you suffering souls in the bad weather who have yet to savor spring. A few green photos from the Japanese Gardens. If you come to visit, I'll take you there and we can be quiet together for a while. Very soothing to the spirits. Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes, a wool sweater, and a hat.

I offer verdant views because I don't have any knitting worthy of showing. I'm working on it, but not much to show. I tried to knit while at the dentist's, yesterday, but I had size one needles and fingering yarn, and I couldn't feel my stitches with enough confidence to carry on while I was being distracted by pointy steel objects being repeatedly jabbed into my tender gums. Now my teeth are squeeky clean and the dentist can't find anything to justify further torture for at least another six months. Yayyy!

And my knitting time was curtailed last night because DH and I went to our weekly dance class. We have taken the same class five or six times, and we are getting pretty good. The teacher has decided to throw in dances we don't know to keep us fresh. I'm fresh. Really I am. You don't need to confuse me just when I'm starting to get a few things.

Now, here's where I get to brag. Amy Lynn tagged me as a Thinking Blogger. Shazam! So I have to pass it along and suggest more thinking bloggers. I suggest Yarnstorm her absolutely fabulous photos, Dave Daniels Cabin Cove for his great photos (with Miss Lulu, the beauty cat)Lucia for her scintilating wit, Norma her many charitable works (like the Red Scarf Project. they brought in over fifteen thousand red scarves for Valentine gifts for young people who don't have families to cheer them along.) and Grandma Flea because she has wonderful pictures of life in australia, and they make me think happy thoughts about going there in the future.

So here are the rules for you thinking bloggers:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hail, hail, thunderstorm in spring.

In the fifteen minute drive from the college to home, I passed through sunshine, torrential rain, more sunshine with the road steaming like a swamp in a horror movie, and then, after I got home, there was lightning, thunder, and pea-sized hail. Boy, if you don't like the weather around here, just wait a bit.

And, since I'm feeling all unfocused and can't decide where to start with the rest of my life (Finishing a novel always leaves me feeling un-tied) I did wahat any right-thinking Pisces would do and re-organized my earrings. I pin them up on a linen dishtowel so I can enjoy my nice linens and so I can see what earrings I actually have. Most of these are estate-sale treasures. I like big, chunky barbaric jewelry, and that's so out of style right now. You can't even buy friendly plastic and make your own anymore. Sigh. so I scavenge the leavings of other ladies and wear them with joy and gratitude.

On the knitting front, I finished the hood of the bright orange hoody. Now, only sleeves and pocket to go. I don't have a handy 6-year old or even a teddy bear so I'm not sure how I will photograph this, but I'll come up with something somehow. (Cats are too small. The neighbor's free-range labs arre about the right size, but getting them dressed? No, I don't feel like wrasslin' a 120 lb dog for a photo op. What to do, what to do?)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Catching up on back-orders.

I never did show you a picture of the LOUD sweater, did I? It's ginormous and perfect for slopping around the house in bitter weather. It's living with Miz G now, hence the nicely propped photo.
This chevron pattern is very easy and versatile. Cast on 100 stitches with markers every 25. Increase before and after the markers every other row. Like the V-vest. Continue increasing till the top is big enough to reach your underarms without binding. Knit half way to the next marker. Slip the rest of the stitches , the marker and half the next section onto a holder. This is your first sleeve. Cast on some stitches (6- 10 or whatever you like to make the body loose enough.) Put a marker at the half-way point of your cast on. Knit to the next marker, slip it and knit half way to the third marker (Back) do the thing for the sleeve again. Then complete the front and continue knitting around, only decrease before and after the marker at the underarms, while continuing to increase before and after the marker at center front and back. Bind off when it's long enough. Pick up the sleeves, pick up stitches from the underarm cast on (remembering to put a marker half way along) and again, every other row, increase before and after the top of sleeve marker and decrease before and after the under-arm marker. If you want a more fitted sleeve, decrease more often. Do the other sleeve. If the neck is too big, pick up along the edge and work decreases at the markers every other row till it's as small as you like. Or just knit a nice tight turtleneck. I knit like my mother cooks: A little of this, some of that, then keep adding something else till it looks right.
I need to attribute my misquotes. the line about, "...almost but not quite exactly unlike.." is from Douglas Adams "So Long and Thanks for all the Fish"
So what did I do yesterday since I had no direction and lots of spare time? I tidied two years worth of magazines off the guestroom bed (and filled the recycle bin!) And then, although the newly useable bed and the down comforter called out to me, I grabbed the big clippers and went into the back yard to fight the good fight against the encroaching blackberries. Then I began pulling weeds. I pulled weeds for 90 minutes before I pranged my back. The old back is dicey, so I treated it with a hot bath (I was a sweaty mess so the bath was needed for several reasons)and a couple pain-killers which tipped me right over into the arms of Morpheus. But it worked. I am up and moving with no flinches, and the yard debris can is full measure, pressed down and overflowing. Not that you can see what I did. Thirty gallons of dandelions, deadly nightshade and blackberry shoots is just a drop in the bucket, but I feel sooo virtuous!
So have I told you the joke I made up? This young woman spoke Spanish, any dialect, no trace of an accent. So when she graduated from college, her first job was as a translator at the World's Fair. And her first assignment was a group of northern Spanish peasants who had been awarded a trip to the fair because of their excellence in wool production.
The young woman found this a difficult assignment because these peasants were quite rustic and strong-willed. They had never seen a revolving door, were outraged by the self-flushing toilets, and kept wandering away whenever she tried to lecture them. Finally, one of them fell on an escalator and broke his leg, and she had the rest wait in a big doorway while she rushed this fellow off to the hospital. When she returned, she found half of her charges had wandered away again, while the rest were fighting one another, wetting on the walls, and generally causing havock. The moral of this story is that you should never put all your Basques in one exit.
Oh! Oh! What do you call a brown paperbag you find in a French Cathedral? It's the lunch sack of Notre Dame.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

treading water, flapping in the wind

The book is done and with my copy editor. All queries have been sent out. The folks at the college aren't calling me in to work at all right now. I am without focus. Without schedule. Without structure. Without priorities. I'm getting nothing done because I can't figure out where to start. I bet there are about eleventy million people in the world who wish to GOD they had my problems! And I bet there are several thousand retired folks in the US who know exactly what I'm talking about. I feel guilty about just kicking back with a book and enjoying the time off.

Happily, the ladies' knitting group is coming over on Saturday, so that at least gives me some sense of direction. Clean the house for company, set a pretty table, plan what to feed them all. Tamara, bless her dear heart, is going to help with thebaking because I have no will-power when it comes to cookie dough. A baked cookie I can just barely manage to resist, but when it comes to brown sugar and butter and vanilla extract blended together with a couple eggs and some flour, I may as well take a cup full right off the top. Yeah, I know - disgusting and unhygenic. And oooooh so goood!

I will provide fruit, tea, ground coffee and a french press for those who know how to make it. I make truely vile coffee. Actually, given the proper equipment, I can produce a dark brown liquid which is almost, but not quite, exactly unlike coffee.

And after that? Maybe I'll start a quilt. Maybe I'll hear from an agent (HAH!) Maybe my copy editor will be finished and I can start the next re-write. Maybe I'll continue flapping in the wind.

Heard any good jokes lately?

This three-legged dog goes into a saloon in the old west, hops up on a bar stool and says, "I'll have a shot of rye."

The bartender is surprised, but pours the shot, puts it down in front of the dog and says,"You know, we don't get too many three-legged talking dogs around here. What brings you to town?"

And the dog says, "I'm lookin' for the man who shot my paw."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Are your taxes done?

Our computer has been a bit dyspeptic lately. My lack of posting certainly doesn't have anything to do with my lack of post-worthy activity. And if you believe that, I have some lovely ocean-front property in Utah to sell you.

I figured the least I could do would be to offer you flowers. Here are two lovely dogwood trees within a block of our house. The white one has probably been here since the pioneers arrived. The pinks are recent imports.

If you come to visit, this is 40th Avenue on the way to our house. I feel happy just getting this close to home. I really do love where we live!

Weight Watchers this morning. I was sooo good this last week. I even passed up a chance to sneak Lindor balls. And it paid off. Another 2.2 pound loss. That's 8 pounds so far. And since I was good all week long, I got to buy myself another item of makeup. Today, a $7.49 tube of "Voluminous" mascara. It was worth passing up a couple of Lindor balls for the expensive stuff!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

pictures of the new haircut

Here's the new haircut showcased in the parking lot of the local fabric paradise.

Left profile

Right profile. Check out the silver waves released by my hairdresser's clever scissoring.

And here is the full frontal goofity.

Don't you just love that nice square basket in the background? It makes yarn stashing look so stylish!

Miz G. and Miz T. in the interests of extending the birthday season (it was March 4th. Really, I think that should be an international hol,iday, don't you?) were dying yarn and gave me a pink and purple skein. Jack likes the way it brings out the pretty highlights in his fur. It has mohair in it and may be worked with silk to become a glorious cardigan for ME!

Happy trails! We are off to buy a walking staff for BIL the scout master.

Friday, April 13, 2007

catching the light

This being awake in the early morning has all sorts of bennies. There is usally a slit of sky visible at the eastern edge of the clouds and for five minutes on a good day, I can see some sunshine!

The new maple leaves are like hands held up to warm themselves in the light.

And for you folks who wanted a fabu self-portrait, well, how's this? I got my slippers wet for you. Hope you appreciate it.

Today, Miz G and I are making a tactical strike on the local fabric paradise. I'll get her to take a few snaps of my new haircut.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

natter, natter, natter

I got a haircut yesterday. It's been five months since the last one, so you can imagine that I have gotten rather shaggy. I even grabbed the manicure scissors and trimmed a bit myself - an inch off the bangs, a clip here and there around the ears. I tried to do so in the spirit of my hairdresser. He is a genius. He takes scissors to my natural waves and sculpts out a stylish, flattering coiffure that takes NO maintenance. No curl enhancers, mousse, gels, sculpting wax, or spray. I just run a brush through it and go. And he makes me look expensive.

It was one of those days when you just don't get around to makeup, so I was astounded when one of the salon managers asked me if I had ever modeled and if I might be interested in doing so. Is that a good haircut, or what? Well I'm willing to try anything once, so I said sure, and he said they'll get in touch. Surely he's not thinking about runway work. Those girls wear size 2. I'm into size 18. Maybe he's thinking plus-size models. Or maybe he just wants me to sit still and let them play with my hair. I'm less enthusiastic about that. I've put in a lot of time and effort to grow this particular shade of silver, and I don't want some colorist dinking around with it.

Back when I was 21 and a stone cold fox, I got another offer to model. The guy had a polaroid and satin sheets. I turned him down. So I guess there are SOME things I won't try even once.

Yesterday, in a misguided urge to tidy up my laptop, I managed to delete my wi-fi software. I had to take the thing down to the Geek Squad and throw myself on their mercies. (They all wear black slacks, white short-sleeved button-down shirts, and black neckties. Perfect uniforms!) I was helped by a dear young lad who has just moved into a big house with five of his friends. Oh gosh I remember those days. He has SO much learning in front of him! I left the laptop to go run errands, and brought a couple of big chocolate chip cookies back to my helper. He was tickled pink. I'm rather enjoying this grandmotherly thing.

Lots of knitting time on the orange hoody. I'm through one ball of yarn already. In fact, I'm already starting to plan the next project. Anyone know where I can find E. Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Sweater pattern? I had it once and it is lost in the detritus of time. Is it in a book I could buy? That sweater is such great magic and what a stash buster!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

just blogging to stay in touch

Six thirty AM I was blog surfing and happened to glance up to see Sunrise Gloriosa. In the time it took me to find the camera and get outside, it had faded to Sunrise Mediocre. But thank Goodness I have made it through another night, safe warm and dry, with no bombs or gunfights or even catfights to disturb my rest. Every sunrise is a good one!!

The maple trees are fluffing up beautifully. I love those trees. In the fourteen years we have lived here, there have been five different families in and out of that property, and I always hold my breath when the guard changes. Please don't kill the trees. Please don't kill the trees. The current residents are the folks who got the whole extended family together, stripped the roof right down to the plywood, replaced sections that had dry rot, and re-roofed it all. They even had the five-year old up there. They own that roof!

Yesterday was one of those days when you spend most of your time in the car and feel as if you have accomplished nothing. And in the evening, I did mending instead of knitting. Cats on the bed equals rips in the quilt. Nice and warm on the lap, but tedious to repair.

DH spent three hours at the dentist getting fillings replaced. Does anyone know why the dentists are so crazy about replacing filllings on us old farts? I've had some of my fillings for fourty years now. They don't seem to be broken. Why should I fix them? After three hours under the drill, I would want to take to my bed with hot water bottles and cool compresses. DH just soldiered through like the hero he is.

If you want some visual delights, go check out Dave Daniels' photo gallery.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Orphanage blanket completed

It's wooly, it's bright, it's warm and there is love in every stitch and a blessing in every twist. Having busted that much out of my stash, I immediately ran out and bought International Orange poly-wool Encore to knit a sweater for my 6 year old great-nephew. Amy, thanks for the Bernat site and the free pattern. Good stuff!
It's sunny, and I'm in that sort of mood, so here is my art reviewer's take on this blanket:
The sportive randomness of coloration counterbalances the rigidity of the implied gridding, rendering a playful tension highly evocative of the spirit of childishness struggling to express itself in our regimented society. Poignantly, as the color / childish spirit comes closer to the edges, it becomes freer and less restrained, but never quite escapes.
As Harriet Vane told Peter Wimsey, "I used to piffle quite well."
So, all you folks that have copies of the book, how's it going? Please be honest. I'll never grow any better if you just say, "It's very nice, dear." I'm current;y having trouble sending e-mails, but I am eager to hear what you think.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Sunday brunch

We met J & C for Easter brunch. This picture doesn't show my girly shoes with 2' heels and pink ribbons on the ankles. I do love them even if they do make me taller than DH. J is 6'7" (I think) and we often tell strangers that we are brother and sister. He's the kid brother I never had, and I'm the big sis he always deserved. DH is wearing the vest I wove and sewed for him. He likes it. He really likes it!
I planned ahead, ate lightly for breakfast, and was moderate in my portion sizes. And still went 4 points over my daily limit. (It was the orzo and olive salad. Buffets are such temptation.) But I still managed a net loss of 1.2 pounds over the past week. None-the-less, I did slip, so no makeup this week. And my mascara is really running out, so I need to be ever so dilligent next week!
On the knitting front, I crocheted the tail ends of the handspun around the border of the orphan blanket and have it stretched and blocking right now. Next knitting project: an international orange pull-over hoodie sweatshirt for my 6-year-old great nephew. He plays in the woods. I want him to be easy to find. And the sweater MUST have a pocket because he's a six-year-old boy for pity sake. Paton's Encore I think. Heaven knows it has to be wash and wear. So I am now on a pattern hunt. Tally ho! (If it goes quickly, it would be wicked to knit one to match for his dad.)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

stash busting

Here's a chemo cap that's been needing to be seamed. I held the fun fur double and knitted it on size 10s. Thick, fuzzy and fast! And then we got to the sewing up part and languished. There's a sweater waiting to be sewn up as well.

And here is the baby afghan that is using up the dregs of the handspun Horned Dorset. I do love these mitered squares! A row of half-size squares at the other end and there may be a hat's worth of odd ends.It's so delightful to watch that pile of yarn melt away. I feel so virtuous!

DH and I were going to take a walk in the sunshine on one of the local bike-paths. The last time we looked at the weather, we were expecting sunshine and temps in the mid 70's. We woke up to the sound of rainrainrain. Oh well. April showers bring may flowers. And we all know what Mayflowers bring, right? Pilgrims!

May the bunny bring you a mess of chocolate eggs! And if we find you in a walk-in cooler with a box of marshmallow birds we will know you are just chillin' with your peeps.

So instead of walking for a mile or so in the balmy spring, we went over to the mall and dodged parents and kidlets on their way to get photos taken with the bunny. In spite of the mobs we still were able to break a sweat and managed three laps - that's 3/4 of a mile. Then we went across the street to the gym. On the scale at the gym, I broke the 190lb barrier!! That's stark naked right before lunch. (We go to the gym to hot-tub and shower, not to pump iron or run the treadmills. The other stuff is there, but we just don't get around to them.)I don't know if I will be able to bring those good results to the weigh-in on Monday, though. We are meeting friends tomorrow for Easter brunch. But if I fill up on carrots before we leave, and stay away from the champagne (there's a headache in every glass unless it's really good stuff.) and if I keep sipping water, maybe I can get through without a fall from grace. If I fall, I'll just pick myself up and do better next week.

Happy spring feasting to one and all!

Friday, April 06, 2007

The cruelty of April

The cruelty of April lies in her unevenly distributed favors. The East is getting hammered with more snow, and we are basking in spring. Y'all come here and visit a spell!

This is the park near the post office. I was a grownup and spent yesterday working on my query letters, rather than running away to the tulip fields. I spoke later to a pal who had gone, and she said that so many people had showed up that you couldn't get a picture without someone else's kid running through it. And parking was just not to be had.

Three drakes hanging out on the lake. No hens in evidence. They may be nesting. Good luck to them!!

The reason it takes a whole day to write three query letters is that each agent has different requirements, so each letter is written from scratch, and you want it to be as catchy and appealing as possible. This agent wants the first three chapters. That one wants first and last page. The other just wants a one page synopsis and a list of everything else you've published. Doing a one page synopsis is like writing a one page resume. By the time you've left out all the extraneous bits, you are left with dust! Data, rather than stories. No flavor or style or voice. And I can't blame the agents, because they must get five or ten querries a day. Can you believe there are that many people writing books out here? But there are knitting books and cookbooks and the biography of Merriweather Lewis's wife's uncle, and books on how to make your life perfect by following seven simple steps, and every one wants to be published. And after the agent has accepted a client, then the work REALLY begins for them, trying to find publishers who will pay for the right to publish these books. Letters and submissions and staying abreast of who is working at which firm today. (No point in sending a manuscript to someone who just got canned yesterday.)

I go nuts just trying to get the querry letters written, punctuated and spelled correctly. Thank God for that final skim before you stick it in the envelope! YesterdayI noticed at the last possible minute that I had misspelled the agent's name. This was for the one who lives in town and wanted the first fifty pages of manuscript. Wow! Way to shoot yourself in the foot, Roxie! I'm ever so glad I caught that.

So I got everything put together and mailed them all off today. Then I went to the park by the library and said hi to the ducks.

This last picture is from Wednesday on campus. Those flowering plums are full of bees. The buzz is so soothing. I wanted to lie down there on the path and take a nap. As if they don't already think I'm nuts up there.

Knitting? I'm working on the tote around tube sock, and another handspun baby blanket for the orphanage. Pictures soon.